Piracy, smuggling and trafficking to come under the spotlight at IMDEC 2019


The Ghana Navy will host over fifteen Chiefs of Navies from across Africa along with 250 international senior officials from Navies, Coast Guards and Marine Police at the upcoming International Maritime Defence Exhibition & Conference (IMDEC).

Taking place on 24-25 July in Accra, Ghana, IMDEC will discuss and address how to secure the increasingly volatile marine and coastal waters in Africa.

The latest Chiefs of Naval Staff to confirm their attendance as guests and speakers are Vice Admiral Ibok Ete Ibas, Chief of Naval Staff, Nigeria Navy, Rear Admiral Koi Alexis Maomou, Chief of Staff, Guinea Navy, Rear Admiral Momar Diagne, Chief of Naval Staff, Senegal Navy, Captain Kossi Mayo, Chief of Staff, Togo Navy.

Commenting on organizing IMDEC, Rear Admiral Seth Amoama, Chief of Naval Staff, Ghana Navy, said: “At this conference we expect a congregation of large numbers of maritime stakeholders both local and international as well as chiefs of the navy’s sub- region and also from other international countries to come and discuss principle issues facing the maritime security of the Africa and in particular the Gulf of Guinea”.

“At the conference we hope to be discussing and having a conversation about modern technical innovations and curbing the illegal unregulated, unreported fishing which is dominating our maritime domain. We hope to have a conversation on information sharing and capacity building. We will also talk about cyber and electronic warfare. We have the opportunity for participants and attendees to visit the stands and exhibitions put in place by major defence and maritime industry to showcase modern and advanced technology in maritime severance defence command and control and a whole lot of technology to be displayed during this conference.”

IMDEC will showcase exclusive milestones of Ghana Navy’s achievements as well as forecast its future accomplishments within the maritime sector under the theme “Celebrating 60 years under Naval Excellence: Securing the Maritime Domain for National Development”.

On 23 July a site visit to Sekondi Naval Base will take place where delegates will be airlifted from Accra to Sekondi port by the Ghana Air Force. The tour will consist of a walk-through of the naval dockyard and base as well as a sea tour to further display the capabilities of Ghana’s naval fleet.

Ghana’s ports and docks do not have enough capacity to load all cargo ships, nor the manpower to enforce Maritime Exclusion Zones. To address this, the Ghanaian Navy is procuring four patrol vessels ($7 mill.) and has recently received several patrol boats in the last few months. Ghana is creating a national maritime security framework endorsed by the Ghana Maritime Authority. However, $1.5 billion is being spent to enhance annual handling capacity at Tema port in Ghana.

Piracy, illegal fishing, and armed robberies are some of the major issues threatening the Gulf of Guinea region. These threats not only disrupt regional stability but also hinder economic development. It is essential that international and intergovernmental players continue to build upon joint capabilities to alter this progression.

The latest report released by Ocean Beyond Piracy (OBP) showed that the economic cost of piracy to West Africa has been on the increase in the last three years, reaching over $818.1 million in 2017, while about $213.7 million was spent to contract maritime security personnel protecting vessels in the region. It revealed that regional spending on law enforcement and naval patrols increased by $13.2 million in the year. The report also showed that 1,726 seafarers were affected last year, while 100 crewmembers were taken hostage.